MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some 33 million passengers travel in and out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport each year. A good share of those passengers is passing through on business.

Tom Pitchford sells printing equipment and travels frequently from his home in California.

“I travel with guys from Frankfort, Germany and they always stay at a hotel on the airport site,” Pitchfork said.

For business travelers like Pitchfork it’s all about managing time. That’s why the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) wants to make business travel more convenient. It is now seeking proposals from developers to build a hotel within walking distance to Terminal One.

“It’s really a passenger service amenity. That’s what we’re trying to accommodate here,” MAC’s Eric Johnson said.

MAC has put out a request for proposals that will have the successful developer, finance, build and manage the 200 to 250 room hotel.

“We’re not in a position now to pay for or finance a hotel, so that’s why we’re choosing this option to go and do as a ground lease,” Johnson said.

MAC says it would sign the winning developer to a 40- to 60-year lease. The expected cost of construction is in the neighborhood of $60 to $80 million.

Other U.S. airports with on-site hotels, such as Chicago’s O’Hare, average 72 to 80 percent occupancy. That’s higher occupancy than most major hotels off site.

Business travelers aren’t surprised. In their world, it’s tough to compete with convenience.

“I just stayed at a Sheraton at the Hartford Airport and it was so nice to just be able to walk right from the gate to the hotel,” business traveler, Patty Hunt, said.

Proposals for the hotel development are due on Dec. 18. The winning bid will be selected in February 2015 with construction to begin in May.

Bill Hudson

Comments